On14 February, Council will confirm the potential rates rise for 2012/13 as part of the 2012-22 Draft Long Term Plan.
The starting point for this discussion is an average rates increase of 7.5 per cent, which is expected to change as Councillors debate what will be included in the Draft Plan.
Waitaki Mayor Alex Familton said Council needs to take into account a number of factors affecting its future operating costs and income.
“These have included increased insurance costs arising from the Christchurch earthquakes, a drop in the subsidy for roading we receive from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), increased depreciation costs on Council assets resulting from revaluation, the ongoing drinking water supply upgrades required by the Government and reduced general investment income.”
These factors alone created a baseline rate increase of 4.9 per cent, prior to additional proposals being taken into account.
“Councilllors and officers have worked extremely hard this year to minimise rate increases by identifying ways to cut costs. It’s now important that we listen carefully to what the community wants before we make any final decisions.”
Mayor Familton noted that a number of key topics are already beginning to emerge as a result of Council workshops and discussions on the Draft Long Term Plan. These include investment in infrastructure, growing the economy, sustainable levels of service, community buildings and how the community pays.
He said the Draft Long Term Plan will be going out for public consultation in April and encouraged the community to consider the key issues the District will be facing over the next ten years and to provide their feedback to Council.
“Now, more than ever, we’ve got to find smarter ways of navigating our way through a rapidly changing world. We need the input of our community to help ensure our District is able to grow and prosper, while keeping rates affordable.”